From pork shank and fried parsley to margaritas with mariachis, Cantina Don Pepe is the real Mexican deal
A couple of years ago some friends took me to eat the “best darn pork shank in Playa” and I have to admit that initially, I was skeptical. Stepping into the funky, open-spaced Mexican restaurant on the east side of the carretera, I immediately felt the vibrant atmosphere. The fact that there were a couple of tables on the patio where patrons sat with their dogs, proved that the owner/host José (Pepe) Acevedo Peña was a softie at heart. We were off to a good start. Like the girl who sells seashells by the seashore, my tongue got twisted in a knot when I first tasted Cantina Don Pepe’s chamorro. It is Mexico’s version of a long-braised pork shank.
The place has quirky sayings written on the walls, on a donkey cart and on blackboards, letting you know that the owner has a sense of humor. When my friends said that we should start with fried parsley before the pork shank, I thought that they were kidding. Fried parsley? It turned out to be really good, with a crispy taste that melts in your mouth, topped with a sprinkling of salt. It somehow awakens your appetite, especially when paired with a well-made margarita. I knew that we were enjoying the beginning of a great dinner, especially when a group of mariachis came walking in.
The restaurant serves many great dishes, from stuffed lotus blossom, enchiladas in mole to chapulines (grasshoppers). Try to be adventurous and order some for your table, you will be pleasantly surprised at how tasty this dish is. The restaurant is located between Calle 14 and Calle 14 Bis on the Carretera Federal and you can contact them on 984 803 3091.